Melendez: Pasadena’s Tim Tucker takes cancer to task


This column appeared on page 3B of the Star-News sports section on Friday, April 24

They say that behind a good man stands a great woman.

For many of us, it’s our mother.

After all, who are we without them?

The last couple of weeks have been particularly tough on Pasadena High School boys basketball coach Tim Tucker. He, along with former Blair boys basketball coach Gamal Smalley, helped put together the first-ever Rio/Pac All-Star Basketball Game, to be played Saturday at Pasadena High.

The game will benefit Steven Adams, the Pasadena junior forward who in February underwent 10 hours of brain surgery to remove a mass behind his right eye that put pressure on the brain, causing double vision and headaches.

The mass was not found to be cancerous, but not many can count themselves as lucky.
In helping organize the event, Tucker is constantly reminded of the ordeal he went through the week of Thanksgiving last year. As a result, he’s hoping this game becomes something bigger than area high school fans watching two well-known leagues compete against one another.

Adams spent nearly two months at Children’s Hospital recovering from surgery. He started school Monday, walking and talking — simple acts that surprised many, including Tucker.

“There’s a lot of stories out there where kids won’t play again,” he said.

“To see Steven walk is crazy for me, because if you saw him when it first happened … I didn’t think he’d ever be able to do this again. We’re blessed.”

Proceeds from the event, co-organized by the Rev. Coy Turentine from Deliverance Tabernacle Church in Pasadena, will help pay for Adams’ hospital bills and months of rehab that lie ahead.

Adams’ cause, however, snowballed into something bigger.
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Boys Volleyball: TC gets a scare, dispatches Titans in 5

Here’s what I wanna know: Where was Aaron Kappe when the boys basketball team needed him? I posed that question to the 6-foot-7 senior after the game. His response: He said it just wasn’t his sport and played club volleyball instead. OK, I understand that. But it’s still hard to overlook what would have been of the Rams’ basketball season if they had Kappe clogging up the middle, dunking here and there and making some crazy blocks. *gasp* The Temple City boys volleyball team jumped to a 2-0 lead and had to overcome a frantic attack by San Marino to dispatch the Titans in a five-set, 25-20, 25-20, 20-25, 26-28, 15-12 victory in Rio Hondo League action Thursday afternoon in front of a boisterous crowd at Temple City High. The Rams stayed on course with the win and in Gabrielino’s rear view mirror. The Eagles (16-2, 4-0) are on a 10-game winning streak. They’ll take on La Canada (Tuesday) and San Marino (Thursday) before visiting Temple City on Cinco de Mayo. If Temple City is to topple Gabrielino they’ll have to limit its silly mistakes like missing serves and working on their passes. By the way, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Our very own award-winning Star-News staff photographer Keith Birmingham is the best in the business. If you look at the picture above it’s the back side of Temple City’s Kappe. The picture below is what it looks like on the other side with San Marino’s Charles Liao, Phillip Cheung and Sean Su trying to get the block. Click here to check out his photo gallery from Thursday’s match.

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Baseball: Lack of good pitching in the WSGV? Really?

It’s an easy question that’s probably going to get very complex answers. But, really, is there lack of good pitching in the West San Gabriel Valley or, for that matter, the entire San Gabriel Valley? That’s the question I’ve been posed by an anonymous blogger who e-mailed last week. But after watching Arcadia’s Bryce Rutherford and most recently San Marino’s Andrew Sloan (above) I’m convinced that there is NO lack of good pitching in the WSGV. Who would even make that argument? Playing travel ball year round, can that affect our high school pitchers in the long run? Should curve balls be allowed in Little League? Is there a lack of good pitching coaches at our area high schools? I’m not saying that’s the problem, just throwing darts on the board here. (I didn’t mention Maranatha’s Dylan Covey or Monrovia’s Richard Kilbury because I haven’t seen them pitch) I’ve been told that as a reporter it’s been unfair for me to see “the pitching and play in general is horrid all around” but I’m not quite sure. I’ve had fun covering baseball this year. Granted, it’s the first full season of high school baseball I’ve covered in my eight years as a sportswriter, but fun nonetheless. Coming to mind is the Temple City-San Marino game early in the season; Glendora’s win over Arcadia in the Apache Invitational (no offense, Apaches), just to name a few. At the very least, this topic makes for a good discussion among you baseball honchos. Enlighten me….

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Baseball: Blackmore gets tossed, Titans win big, 10-2

Click here to check out and buy photos from Wednesday’s game shot by Star-News staff photographer Keith Birmingham. People, he’s the best in the biz.

Senior Andrew Sloan pitched four strong innings, allowed two runs on only two hits and struck out four batters to lead San Marino to a 10-2 win over a baffled Monrovia on Wednesday afternoon in Rio Hondo League action. San Marino jumped to an early 3-0 lead in the first after Dylan Bensinger’s line drive down the third base line was good for a double, driving in Jonathan Merhaut. Kevin Gute’s double cleared the bases to score Michael Thompson and Bensinger to make it, 3-0. Bensinger finished the day going 2 for 3 with a double and three RBIs. The Wildcats got on track in the second when Justin De La Nuez scored on Robert Nakamura’s RBI single to right field. With the bases loaded, Richard Kilbury’s RBI single brought Chris Calver home to make it, 3-2. Kilbury’s ball got a lucky bounce that got away from first baseman Joe Forgatch, allowing the run to score. But that’s as close as the Wildcats would get, leaving the bases loaded in the second after Sloan’s shaky start to the inning. He walked three batters but still got out of the jam and a 1-run lead. This was Monrovia’s first game back after a 20-plus day hiatus from the Rio Hondo League. They were the last team in the league to go on spring break and played in a tournament the week they went on break while the rest of the league returned for league action. Wildcats co-head coach Brad Blackmore didn’t see the end of the game. He was tossed in the sixth inning by infield umpire Walter Brown after a lengthy and heated protest. San Marino loaded the bases and scored five runs to take a 10-2 lead. Nothing went right for Monrovia in the sixth. After Forgatch singled, Tarik El-abour came to the plate and showed bunt. Aaron Murphee’s pitch appeared to have make contact with the bat but the umpire signaled El-abour to head to first. Blackmore protested the call and was tossed. San Marino loaded the bases on Stevie Yortsos’s bunt and Merhaut singled in Thomas Lopez who was pinch-running for Forgatch. Things unraveled after that. El-obour scored after Thompson walked, Gute’s single to left drove home Yortsos and Merhaut to make it, 9-2, and Chandler Caldwell’s single up the middle scored Thompson for the game’s final run. Interesting game. Afterwards, Monrovia co-head coach Dave Moore said he wasn’t sure when the team would be coming into the game focused or not focused. He said the Wildcats wanted to tie the game with every swing. “But that’s not our ball game. That was our biggest problem,” Moore said. The Rio Hondo League is not going to be won in the next week or so and it could come down to the final game of the season. This much we know, the Titans can hang. By the way, there was someone at the game making weird analogies, especially late in the game, talking about hotels, Park Ave., letting the ice cream melt, pepperoni’s and HomeTown Buffet. I had no idea what any of that meant but I sure was in the mood for some all-you-can eat pizza at Shakey’s after the game with a side of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

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BREAKING NEWS: Blair’s Gamal Smalley resigns

Gamal Smalley confirmed moments ago he has resigned as Blair’s boys basketball coach. “We had a parting of the ways last week,” he said. “We had a mutual agreement with (Blair) principal Rich Boccia to seek an opportunity somewhere else.” Smalley spent two seasons coaching the Vikings and a year and a half as the school’s athletic director. Smalley requested a meeting with Boccia at the end of the season and was granted a meeting last week. “We sat down and he informed me that he decided to move in a different direction,” Smalley said. “It was understandable. He told me he’s doing a lot of reorganization within the school and athletic departments.” Boccia did not return a message seeking comment. Smalley tookver a Vikings program that went 0-10 in league the previous season and had won just two games the year before. “I was really happy with what we were able to do there,” Smalley said. “It was a gigantic task.” Smalley suggested that the school needed to find a full-time person on staff to make it work. “You have to have people on campus but in that particular (post) they need someone full-time that’s there,” he said. Blair went 13-10 this season and missed the playoffs after a fourth-place finish in the Rio Hondo League.

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BREAKING NEWS: Marshall’s Jerry DeLaurie resigns

Marshall boys basketball coach Jerry DeLaurie has resigned, Marshall athletic director Jason Taylor confirmed. “The administration has accepted his resignation and wishes coach DeLaurie well,” Taylor said. DeLaurie spent three seasons at Marshall, leading the Eagles to a 57-25 record and a trip to the semifinals and quarterfinals appearences in the CIF-Southern Section playoffs. DeLaurie cited a tenous schedule for his resignation. His duties as physical education teacher has increased at David Starr Middle School in the Burbank Unified School District. “It’s tough to get over (to Marshall),” DeLaurie said. “The first year was tough but I had a lot of seniors coming back and I hung in there for one more year, for them.” DeLaurie said there were some minor issues in his short tenure at Marshall “but I got over them,” he said. “Not having a gym, that’s pretty tough,” DeLaurie said. “But the main reason is I teach in Burbank. It just wasn’t fair for the kids to wait until I arrived.” There is an opening at Burroughs High and DeLaurie confirmed he will inquire about that position. In his first season at Marshall, DeLaurie was the athletic director at AGBU in Canoga Park, and in that capacity it was easier for him to leave for games at Marshall. The following year, DeLaurie left AGBU to teach in Burbank. “Last year was tough and this last season was even tougher,” DeLaurie said. Marshall athletic director Jason Taylor said the school will begin looking for DeLaurie’s replacement. “Ideally we would like to hire a credentialed teacher but we will be considering walk-on applicants as well,” Taylor said. “We’re seeking to select a candidate that has experience managing a multiple-level basketball program. “Are we going to rush through the interview process? No. But at the same time our goal is to have the new coach in place before the school year ends, which is approximately 6-8 weeks from now.”

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Softball: Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy is sizzling!

Photo courtesy of Eric D. Danielson

Flintridge Sacred Heart is hot, and it wasn’t just because of the 104 degree heat Tuesday in the San Fernando Valley at game time. The Tologs continue to make softball history at their school with beating another Mission League powerhouse, Chaminade (8-8, 1-2). As was the case with Alemany (10-6, 1-1), prior to this season Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy had never beaten either Mission League opponent in softball. This season they have beaten both in their first meetings of the season. Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy (13-2, 3-0) extended its winning streak to 12 after a 5-3 victory over Chaminade. Jessica Ferri led off with a solo home run (8th of the season) and Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy never relinquished the lead. Ferri picked up the victory, scored three times and had three stolen bases, including home. Sophomore Alanna Pires had a game-high three RBIs.

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Baseball: Is Monrovia gaining ground for top spot?

Compiled by Miguel A. Melendez

1. Arcadia (14-3)
Big week for Apaches

2. Monrovia (10-5-1)
Glad to be back in RHL action

3. La Caada (13-1)
Positioning itself for takeover?

4. Temple City (10-7)
Got blanked by San Marino

5. St. Francis (14-8)
Knights are 4-2 in league

6. Alhambra (10-5)
Moors may have figured it out

7. San Marino (10-6)
Titans walk the walk vs. TC

8. Maranatha (13-4-1)
Minutemen getting on track

9. Bosco Tech (12-3)
Tigers are 6-1 in league

10. Pasadena (10-8-1)
Played Arcadia tough













<a href="">MaxPreps High School Sports</a>

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Softball: Mayfield moves up a few spots in latest poll

Compiled by Keith Lair

1. Flintridge Sacred Heart (9-2)
A perfect (3-0) spring break

2. La Caada (9-3)
Plays at Temple City on Friday

3. La Salle (12-4)
Doubleheader at S. Pas on tap

4. Keppel (12-3)
Four straight double-digit Ws

5. Maranatha (11-6)
Time to make move in league

6. Ramona Convent (8-0)
Finally played after two weeks

7. Mayfield (10-6)
Next two games are crucial

8. Monrovia (7-7)
Waiting for injured to return

9. Temple City (10-7)
Back to Rio Hondo League play

10. Alhambra (9-6)
On six-game winning streak











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Baseball: Arcadia beats Burroughs, 10-3, tied for first

UPDATE 1: After a promising start in which he struck out Sean Kahikina swinging, Bryce Rutherford allowed A.J. Durpe to double to right field and Raymond Palafox reached first on a balk. Rutherford regained control, getting Johnny Schewer and Erik Suarez to pop up for the final two outs and end the threat. 0-0

UPDATE 2: David Huntzinger singled up the middle and Garret Tuck walked. Tim Smoley was hit by a pitch on the first throw by Burroughs pitcher Ryne Kahikina to load the bases. Rutherford struck out swinging on a 2-2 count. Pat Carroll was hit by a pitch on the second throw to drive in Huntzinger and give the Apaches a 1-0 lead. Mike Nigolian struck out swinging on a full count with bases loaded to end Arcadia’s threat in the first.

UPDATE 3: The Apaches were seemingly in control but Kyle Hart got an infield single to reach first. He later stole second base and reached third after Myles Grene’s ground out. With Kahikina at the plate, Rutherford threw a wild pitch that allowed Hart to score and tie the game, 1-1. We’re in the bottom of the second with an Apache at second and one out.

UPDATE 4: Rich Cleeland scored on Jon Larson’s RBI single up the middle, giving the Apaches the lead again, 2-1, with two outs. Tuck walked on four pitches, putting runners on first and second with two outs and Tim Smoley at the plate. He was hit in the ankle and proceeded to move to first. But the umpire called him back and negated the play, telling Tuck and Larson to move back to their previous position. Smoley swung on the next pitch but sent the next pitch way over right field for a three-run home run to to give the Apaches a 5-1 cushion. You can thank the umpire and the Burroughs fans who protested the walk for Arcadia’s runs. Had Smoley just walked to first who knows if the Apaches even score. Anyway, we’re in the top of the third.

UPDATE 5: Johnny Schwer’s RBI triple scored Palafoux, who walked, to pull the Indians to within, 5-2. We’re in the bottom of the third.

UPDATE 6: Arcadia scored four runs in the fourth. So much for a pitcher’s duel, too. Kahikina was taken out after giving up consecutive hits to Josh Natham and Huntzinger. Larson’s single to center drove home Natham to make it, 6-2. Huntzinger scored after a wild pitch, but give credit to Tuck who was alert at the plate and told him to come home after the Burroughs catcher reacted late. Larson scored on Rutherford’s line drive and Smoley scored on a squeeze to make it, 9-2. We’re in the fifth now.

UPDATE 7: Burroughs’ Sean Kahikina scored on Rutherford’s wild pitch, bringing the Indians to within, 9-3. Rutherford walked Dylan Werchowsky to put runners on the corners. As a result, Rutherford was taken out and replaced by AJ Smouse. We’re in the bottom of the fifth.

UPDATE 8: Tyler Dominguez scored from second on an RBI single up the middle from Larson to give Arcadia a 10-3. We’re in the top of the sixth and we’re approaching deadline!!!!

UPDATE 9: That’s the ball game. Rutherford robs Burroughs of a home run in the seventh to give the home crowd something more to cheer about. Arcadia is now tied for first with Burbank which defeated Hoover, 19-0, earlier in the day. Time to crank out the story.


There’s a big showdown tonight and no I’m not talking about the Utah-Lakers series (we all know the Lakers will win in a sweep). No, we’re talking about a Pacific League showdown when Burroughs visits Arcadia tonight at 7. According to the Los Angeles Times, Burroughs is expected to start sophomore sensation Ryne Kahikina who is 5-0. Rutherford (5-1) takes the mound with a 1.75 ERA and 57 K’s. The Apaches took the first meeting, 2-1. Lets hope we’re treated to another good one tonight. I will be there. Anyone care for some live updates?

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